THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Staying Blue, by Gibbons Ruark
Staying Blue poems By Gibbons Ruark Retail: $11.75(paper, perfect bound) Publisher's Discount: $11.00 + Free SH (http://www.losthillsbooks.com/book-stayingblue.html)
Go to www.english.udel.edu/ruark/ruarkgen.html for more information on Gibbons Ruark's distinguished career.
Gibbons Ruark's poems have appeared widely for nearly forty years in magazines like Ploughshares, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and Poetry, and in various anthologies and texts. They have also won the poet frequent awards, including three Poetry Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize. Previously collected in A Program for Survival, Reeds, Keeping Company, Small Rain, Forms of Retrieval, and Rescue the Perishing, seventy of them appear in Passing Through Customs: New and Selected Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 1999.
(Gibbons Ruark is available for public readings. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to 1805 Warwood Court, Raleigh, NC 27612.) ____________________________________________________
Words to Accompany a Bunch of Cornflowers
Those beads of lapis, even the classical Blues of dawn, are dimmed by comparison. When I hand you this bunch of cornflowers The only other color in the room Illumines your eyes as you arrange them.
They are the blue reflection of whatever Moves in you, serene as cool water tipped Into crystal, oddly enough the willing bride To a cloudy head of melancholy So deeply blue it could prove musical.
This is the blue John Lee Hooker’s gravelly Voice in the sundown field was looking for. This is the unrequited dream of an iris. Ice blue, spruce blue, little periwinkle blue— Nothing else that dies is exactly so blue.
Little Porch at Night
Pull up a porch chair next to this chaise longue. Tell me the empty dark will fill with voices And talk to me before I end my song.
A summer night, and something has gone wrong To rob the mild air of familiar faces. Pull up a porch chair. Next to this chaise longue
A mother should be standing with her long Hair tucked into a bun. Unwind those tresses And talk to me before I end my song.
That vacant angle where a hammock hung Adopts the whole moon in its loneliness. Pull up a porch chair. Next to this chaise longue.
Summon the fireflies, matches struck and gone, The Morse code of the stars who’ve lost their places, And talk to me before I end my song,
For down there in the shallows should be strung A taut line from a father to the sea he fishes. Pull up a porch chair next to this chaise longue And talk to me before I end my song.
Some things happened every year, no matter what: The air cooled down a little after a storm, The fireflies rose and fell in total silence, Unlike those mournful gnats along the river In that poem the lovelorn teacher read us We were every one too young to understand. The berries fell from the chinaberry tree And left the back yard slithery underfoot. But this was the year of Mama’s polio, The summer when the epidemic kept us On the block, then under the trees, and then, When she came down with it and went away, Behind the head-high railings of the balustrade. Next door was the church, high sunlight angling Through the steeple’s stained glass, unfolding then Like a flickering board game on the floor. I stood on the steps and hollered “Polio!” Then came the parade of openhearted aunts, Spelling each other, stern and sweet by turns, One not caring if we saw her naked, Since we were only children, after all. Beautiful and young, an Army nurse in the war, Milk-pale except for the dark touch here and there, Did I dream she made us buttered toast and eggs Before remembering to put her clothes on? She died in childbirth, fifty years ago, And I have wondered at her all my days. When Mama came home, there was the wheelchair, Strange, like a marvelous oversized toy, And then the crutches and the metal braces. Crutches I knew, big boys with football injuries, But the braces were hinged and ominous, Not Mama’s legs, not anything like them. Only late at night could you not hear her coming. Then she lay down and they were taken off And stood till first light in a bedroom corner Like parts of a skeleton, and she slept As we all did, swimmers floating in a salt pond. In those hours nobody needed to walk, Unless you had to pee or the house caught fire.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.